Review: Illusions of Fate - Kiersten White

Release Date: September 9th 2014
Published By: HarperTeen
Pages: 288
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Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray

Review: Illusions of Fate may well be my favourite Kiersten White book to date. This beautifully written story is captivating, thrilling and intriguing. Coupled with a lush setting, and brilliant characters this is one book not to be missed!

Jessamin leaves her island home to move Albion to further her studies. And it is not an easy place for her to be. Jessamin is darker skinned, poor and from Melei, and none of these things are a good thing according to the wealthy, privileged, and mostly elitist society of Albion. But Jessamin is determined to achieve her goals - to complete her study at a school that is too distinguished for the likes of her kind, and to become a teacher so she can return home as a teacher. She faces many hurdles after moving to Albion, one of which is being ignored by her estranged father, who happens to be a professor at her school.

But Jessamin’s world completely changes when she meets Finn, a mysterious, handsome Lord. Not only does she learn about the nobility’s world of magical abilities, but she becomes stuck in the middle of a long and magical power battle. Will Jessamin be able to choose between her loyalty and her heart? And will she survive to make the choice?

Once again, Kiersten White has cemented her place as one of my favourite authors with this historical fantasy that includes everything from magic, politics, racism, elitist, and of course, romance. I loved the world that Kiersten built. She not only created a setting, but and atmosphere. A complex one at that. I could vividly imagine this lovely Victorian setting, with amazing buildings and parks, but also feel the tension that is such a major part of this world. The tension between “island rats” and the nobility of Albion is superbly written. And I respect that fact that Kiersten so openly included racial, socio-economical and political differences into this storyline. And she tackles these issues flawlessly.

Now to the characters. Jessamin is driven, determined, sassy and quite sarcastic. She will not allow people to walk over her, and this results in some very interesting interactions (especially with Finn). She is tough, smart and is no damsel in distress. I really liked her. However she is flawed. She is stubborn, which is not a bad thing, but she can be stubborn to the point of damaging. And I found her reverse discrimination fascinating. She is a person of colour from Melei and is often discriminated against, but she is also quite prejudiced herself, and I found this quite fascinating (even if it was a little frustrating when it affected her relationship with Finn).

And Finn… oh Finn. He is charming. And when I say charming, I actually mean charming - he is handsome, chivalrous, charismatic, fascinating, noble, refined, powerful… the list goes on and on. Finn is sweet, intelligent, fiercely protective, slightly mischievous and actually quite sensitive - I adored him. He is certainly powerful, but he isn’t like the other nobility he has surrounded himself with.

I admire Kiersten’s concise writing style, while still being able to create a world I can get absorbed in, delivering complex and real characters, an intriguing storyline and sublime romance. I have always admired Kiersten’s use of humour in her novels, and I feel that she excelled herself in Illusions of Fate. The storyline flowed brilliantly, interweaving mystery with development.

Illusions of Fate takes you on a magical journey, artfully and beautifully. You will be enchanted by this gorgeous story all the way to the surprising end. Sadly this is a standalone, and the storyline was wrapped up nicely, but I would love to see more of this world.



“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

“I long for the security of the world I lived in yesterday, but it is lost to me forever.”

“Clearly he doesn’t not know me if he thinks I am ever in a condition where arguing is not possible.”

“For all you think we judge you, I have never once cared about the color of your skin or the country of your birth. But it would appear you cannot get past mine.”

“That is a tragedy beyond expression”

What do you think?

  • You know, I should really stop reading reviews. Soon my TBR list will look like Kali’s at (601)!
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